World Child Cancer has been given approval to build a new Parent Support Home at Mbingo Baptist Hospital in Northwest Cameroon.
The home will provide free accommodation to patients and their families who would otherwise not have anywhere to stay. The majority of families arriving at the hospital have travelled for several days and are often from poor households reliant on subsistence farming or ad hoc employment opportunities. Many have saved or borrowed money to pay for transport and are increasingly worried about cost of treatment. Nearby accommodation is both limited and unaffordable, leaving families with little choice but to sleep on the ward or in and around the hospital grounds. This can lead to poor hygiene and diet, increasing the risk of infection to patients.
The parents support home will have eight bedrooms dedicated to patients and their families, with four separate bedrooms available to medical volunteers. These volunteers will pay a small fee for their accommodation which will be put towards ongoing running costs and the salary of a house keeper. kitchens, wash rooms and a communal area will be provided, with families being encouraged to take part in daily routines such as cooking, cleaning, and gardening.
The home will also reduce bed occupancy on the ward, taking pressure of staff and resources. Treating children cancer is a challenging and difficult process, dictated by the type of cancer and staging. Whilst some children may be well enough to make regular trips to and from the hospital, others may need to spend long periods of time away from their home. Both situations can be equally difficult, putting huge financial pressure on families.
World Child Cancer is extremely excited about this new project. Special thanks go to the Beryl Thyer Trust who are jointly funding the home which is expected to be completed within the next 6-9 months.
Watch a video on the Parent Support Home here